Friday, January 11, 2008
Bishop O.T. Jones Jr.
This past Saturday marked the passing into glory of one of God’s servants, the honorable Bishop O.T. Jones Jr. who served as pastor of the Holy Temple Church of God in Christ and presided over the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania jurisdiction of COGIC for many, many years. Due to declining health Bishop Jones had not actively served his church since the late 90’s. Though I’ve never been an active member of COGIC I have many family members who are and have attended many worship services at Holy Temple through the years. I greatly admired Bishop Jones for his humble demeanor and genuine love for those he pastored. He never came off to me as one who was caught up in being a bishop and though he was treated with great respect, love and care by those he served he never seemed to view them as pawns to be used to move onto bigger and better things.
One of the things I appreciated about Bishop Jones was the way he took time to speak with everyone who wanted to talk with him following a service or event at Holy Temple. I admired the way he spoke to those he served during the Commonwealth’s convocations when he exhorted God’s people to press toward holiness and witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember Bishop Jones when reflecting on God’s call for me to view and treat those I serve with gentleness, love, humility and respect. I deeply respect that Bishop Jones didn’t seem to need an opulent lifestyle to validate his status and that he lived in the community where he served. I’m especially grateful for how gracious and encouraging he was to me a young minister who was not apart of his church. It seemed that whenever I attended a service my mother, and aunt or cousin would take me to the front and once more introduce me to Bishop Jones. He was patient, kind, always smiled and never failed to encourage me to persevere in God’s calling.
My guess is that many within the wider evangelical church never even heard of Bishop Jones and as far as I know he wrote no books and didn’t have much interaction with mainstream evangelicals. Was Bishop Jones as Calvinist? No he was not. But he was what I hope to become. A man of God who loved his Lord, loved his people and served them faithfully until death.
The Lord’s Peace